Posts Tagged ‘Helena Bonham Carter’

In a nutshell: Apes start talking ‘bout a revolution

Popcorn rating: 4/5

We’ve all fond memories of the Charlton Heston original and maybe even a few of you male readers may have fond memories of Helena Bonham Carter’s she-ape in Tim Burton’s remake, but is a frightening prelude to our inevitable future as slaves to our simian overlords.

Directed by Rupert Wyatt, who proved he’s no slouch with debut feature The Escapist, Rise of the Planet of the Apes has proved to be the Indian summer blockbuster and then some.

Starring Andy Serkis – the undisputed King Kong of performance capture – Rise… takes us into new territory for this franchise reboot. Setting the action on a firmly human-run Earth, James Franco’s boffin is frantically searching for a cure to Alzheimer’s, which – as any fan of cinema, science fiction or literature will know – is destined to bring about the end of our kind. Becoming an unwilling father to baby chimp Caesar, he is firmly pushed back to the background as we meet the most interesting and engaging performance-capture protagonist of all time.

Andy Serkis as Caesar is a revelation and with technology beginning to catch up with his acting ability – the death knell to the trade? – has made the most convincing argument for awards recognition of the performance capture medium yet. His chimpanzee displays a range of emotions that Keanu Reeves can only dream of and by the time the revolution kicks in, you’ll be betraying your species in who to cheer on.

It’s not all fancy tricks and sad-faced apes, there is great action too, Serkis’ Casear leading a tactical charge in the finale worthy of his name and visually the CGI is breath-taking. There are some sly nods to the originals – including a post-Draco Tom Felton gaining the honour of uttering that immortal line and subtle and clever hints to future instalments.

Smart, engaging and moving, a summer blockbuster with substance, this planet’s journey to simian society couldn’t have got off to a better start.

Reviewer: AoifeWantonMovieLover

The King’s Speech

Posted: February 1, 2011 by aoifewantonmovielover in Film
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In a nutshell: A right royal affair makes a bid for b…b…b…brilliance. Like a prelude to Wills and Kate’s wedding, but without the day off.

Popcorn rating: 4/5

Hollywood loves a bit of royalty. Whether it’s Helen Mirren’s buttoned up take on Lizzie 2, Judi Dench in a scandalously blink-and-you’ll-miss-her ham fest in Shakespeare in Love, or, well, take your pick of the many Henrys and Richards that have been immortalised in film, the US seems to look with yearning at the archaic institution.

This particular Royal – King George VI – has struck a particular nerve, bringing home the gold from the box office and vacuuming up awards all over the place (which depending on your opinion of awards ceremonies is going to either make you want to see this or downright refuse to). The King’s Speech is the human face of the monarchy and one with a very common condition.

There is a lot going on in The King’s Speech: a country in a post war depression on the verge of another major conflict, a king on the brink of death and another one about to abdicate with the Duke of York waiting in the wings, pathologically afraid of the inevitable microphone thrust in his face.

However, The Damned United’s Tom Hooper, aided by a concise and considered script by David Seidler, manages to tie all this together neatly, while placing the focus on the unlikely friendship between Colin Firth’s future king and Geoffrey Rush’s genial therapist.

Both actors are magnificent, fully deserving of awards recognition. Firth (tuxedo surely primed for the Kodak theatre) is the star turn of course. A man struggling to meet his duties with a hot temper but a warm heart, under his overbearing father and his caddish but charming brother (Guy Pearce) as the heir apparent. Rush, is the less flashy turn as the patient and affable Aussie and the film hinges on their chemistry, resulting in a tight two-hander.

They are ably supported by a litany of talent, including Helena Bonham Carter and Michael Gambon, but Timothy Spall’s almost comic Winston Churchill cameo is distracting at best as the one bum note.

As a period drama, The King’s Speech is flawless, with perfect costumes, props and even the genesis of the BBC and, much as it is moving, it’s also funny, as Rush’s Logue breaks down “Bertie’s” stiff upper lip for some genuine laughs and a heart-warming triumph over adversity. Dust off your mantelpieces peasants – the Oscars are coming.

Reviewer: Aoifewantonmovielover